Hydo bills up while cost of living skyrockets, inflation hits 5.7%

QUEEN'S PARK — Ontario NDP Energy critic Peter Tabuns said Ontarians' cost of living is rising steeply at the same time as a new report by the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) reveals that Ford's promise to reduce Ontarians' hydro rates by 12 percent was always a sham. 

The inflation rate announced Wednesday was a whopping 5.7 percent. Under the Ford government, the average ratepayer's hydro bill has risen by 4.3 per cent and counting. 

"People in Ontario are under more strain than ever. Families are working harder than ever, but we’re all swimming upstream because the cost of everything is rising so fast,” Tabuns said. 

"The FAO makes it clear that the scheme Ford put forward was always magic beans, smoke and mirrors and a shell game. It was built to be a facade, not to lower hydro bills. Instead of lowering hydro bills, Ford hiked them. Ontarians are still paying the unfairly high prices caused by Steven Del Duca and the Liberals selling off Hydro One, and Ford has done nothing to fix that."

Tabuns said the Ontario NDP is committed to tackling the root causes of skyrocketing electricity system costs.

"We deserve a government that understands what the rising cost of living is doing to regular people, that prioritizes making life more affordable and rebuilding the electricity system with the interests of regular ratepayers top of mind."

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NDP MPPS JOIN NEARLY 200 ADVOCATES TO DECLARE INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE AN EPIDEMIC

QUEEN’S PARK – The Ontario NDP Official Opposition joined countless families and advocates at Queen’s Park today to declare Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) an epidemic.

“We need every tool available to put an end to intimate partner violence and gender-based violence – and this is one right at our fingertips,” said Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto Centre). “Nearly 100 cities in this province, including Toronto have declared Intimate Partner Violence an epidemic and today we can ensure Ontario does too.”

On April 10, the Ontario NDP will debate Bill 173, which would declare intimate partner violence an epidemic in Ontario. This was the number one recommendation of the 86 from the Renfrew Inquest – a recommendation directed at the Province of Ontario that’s been repeatedly rebuked by Ford and the Conservatives.

“This is an epidemic and we need to act on this issue with the urgency it deserves,” said Jill Andrew, NDP critic for Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity. “Without meaningful action, we’re putting women and gender-diverse people across our province at risk.”

Recent instances of Intimate Partner Violence have been all too common across the province, from Sault Ste. Marie to Huron County to Windsor. Many impacted families join the MPPs today.

“I am deeply grateful to the advocates and family members who have joined us with their relentless advocacy”, said Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West). “Intimate partner violence has impacted so many people and touched so many communities, including my hometown of Windsor. Stories like Sahra Bulle are heartbreaking – but all too common. We’re here to say that enough is enough.”

“We’re calling on Ford to do the right thing today,” said MPP Peggy Sattler (London West). “There’s too much at stake and no time to waste.”

Quotes

Fartumo Kusow, Mother of Sahra Bulle

“Intimate Partner Violence is pervasive, predictable and preventable and that is the definition of epidemic. My daughter Sahra was murdered by her partner last year, and it has been an ongoing nightmare. We need the provincial government to step-up and do the right thing: declare Intimate Partner Violence an epidemic in Ontario.”

Erin Lee, Executive Director, Lanark County Interval House and Community Support

“Nearly 100 Ontario municipalities have declared IPV an epidemic, and I strongly urge all members to vote in support of Bill 173. It is critical for victims, families, survivors, and those living isolated to hear a message, loud and clear that they are believed, that they are heard and that they are being responded to by the government of Ontario.”

Kirsten Mercer, Lawyer, Goldblatt Partners LLP (Counsel at the CKW Inquest)

“Using the language of an epidemic frames gender-based violence as the public health emergency that it is- a social challenge not an individual problem. We are telling all those who live with gender-based violence that what is happening to them is not their fault. This violence is our collective concern.”

Sami Pritchard, Interim Director of Advocacy & Communications, YWCA Toronto

“While we know that this declaration will be merely a first step to addressing and eradicating this epidemic, we also know that we cannot change what we refuse to name. By naming this crisis for what it is - an epidemic - we are sending a clear message to the survivors and children fleeing violence, the frontline workers, advocates and organizations supporting survivors, and the loved ones of those lost to femicide – we see you, we believe you, we respect you, and your life matters.”

NDP MPPS HELP TENANTS GET RENT REDUCTIONS, CALL ON FORD TO ACT ON ILLEGAL RENTS

QUEEN’S PARK – Official Opposition NDP MPP Peter Tabuns (Toronto – Danforth) and Housing critic Jessica Bell (University – Rosedale) are demanding Ford’s Conservatives force corporate landlords to follow the law on expired Above Guideline Increase (AGI) orders to ensure tenants get the rent reductions they are owed.


“The Ford government is missing in action when it comes to enforcing expired AGI orders, so tenants are getting stuck paying higher illegal rents,” said Tabuns. “We’re calling on the Premier to make it clear to corporate landlords that they have to follow the law, follow the orders from the LTB and ensure that tenants get the rent reductions they are legally owed.”


Tabuns and Bell have been working with tenants in their communities living in buildings where AGI orders are set to expire to make sure they are not being charged illegal rents by property management companies. So far, they have succeeded in getting rent reductions for tenants in two buildings.


“Landlords are not telling tenants that they are owed a reduction,” said Bell. “It shouldn’t be up to tenants to force landlords to obey the law. Doug Ford needs to stop corporate landlords from illegally making tenants pay surcharges on their rent and start putting that money back in people’s pockets.”


BACKGROUND:


• In 2007 the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) was changed to put time limits on rent increases arising from an Above Guideline Increase order. Tenants paying for millions of dollars in building repairs and improvements are not supposed to be paying the surcharge forever. The LTB ordered these rents to come down when the original order expires in 10, 12, 15 or 19 years.


• Successive Liberal and Conservative governments have failed to protect tenants covered by these AGI orders, despite calls by tenants' associations to require landlords -- by law -- to notify eligible tenants they are due for a rent reduction. They have also called for a way for tenants to apply to the LTB to force the reductions they’re entitled to under the law.

STILES’ NEW HEALTH CARE SOLUTION WILL GET 2 MILLION PEOPLE THE PRIMARY CARE THEY NEED

QUEEN’S PARK – Marit Stiles, Leader of Ontario’s Official Opposition NDP, is bringing forward a new healthcare solution that puts patients first by unlocking thousands of hours of physicians’ time.

“Everyone deserves access to care when they need it. But 2.2 million people in Ontario are without a family doctor. Not only does this put their health at risk, but it also puts tremendous strain on our already-overburdened emergency rooms,” said Stiles.

Stiles and the NDP are introducing a motion in the Legislature that would connect more patients to primary care by reducing the amount of time doctors spend on administrative work. By investing in administrative support staff and integrated health teams, we could add the equivalent of 2,000 more family doctors and help up to 2 million people get the care they need.

“This is an all-hands-on deck moment for health care. This is a smart, simple solution to fix the massive patient backlog in Ontario and get people the care they need – starting right now.”

Stiles and the NDP will force a vote on the measure in the Ontario legislature Monday afternoon.

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